"A Christmas Carol" kids transition from First Stage to the Mainstage

Kids come to the Omaha Community Playhouse First Stage Theatre Academy to learn all aspects of theatre. We are excited to have two First Stage students returning to OCP to apply what they learned in this season’s A Christmas Carol!  

Every summer OCP takes 30-40 kids into its First Stage two-week intensive. During the two weeks, students work with directors, musicians and choreographers; take classes in playwriting, scene study, improv and more; and produce and perform an original play.

The program creates “a safe space for self exploration as students” and allows them to experience all areas of theatre according to OCP Education Director Denise Chapman. “It is designed to push students into leadership roles and is a way for them to use theatre and the arts to explore life.”

The program does not push its students into OCP auditions, but there always seems to be a few that have a real passion for theatre and seek out the opportunities. This year, those students are Henry Wisneski and Ahmad Ealy.

Ahmad Ealy, second from left, with other First Stage scholarship recipients
Ahmad was first inspired by the theatre environment when his mother began working at OCP. In 2012, he saw A Christmas Carol for the first time and thought it was something he might like to pursue one day. “I got the vibe that I wanted to try out for it but I never knew when auditions were,” said Ahmad.

Ahmad, a freshman at Westside High School, auditioned this fall and now has four roles in the production including Greenery Vendor, Marley Minion, Shepherd and children’s ensemble. “First Stage helped me in a great way,” he said. “I learned to be a better actor, singer and how to interact with people on stage.” Henry, an eighth-grader at Lewis and Clark Middle School, will be playing Young Ebby, a Marley Minion and Wise Man.

Henry Wisneski performing in OCP's First Stage Theatre Academy
“There is always a sense of pride when you see students from your program hit the Mainstage,” said Denise. “You helped plant the seed that helped them along their journey.” 

We are excited to see Ahmad and Henry show off their passion and hard work in what is sure to be a wonderful show. “[A Christmas Carol] was spectacular back in 2012, but this seems like it is going to be a really good season,” said Ahmad.

See A Christmas Carol at the Omaha Community Playhouse Nov. 21-Dec. 23, Wednesdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $36 for adults and $25 for students before Dec. 15 and $40 for adults and $29 for students Dec. 15 – 23. For groups of 12 or more, tickets for adults are $32 and tickets for students are $18. To purchase tickets or for more information, call (402) 553-0800, click here or visit the Box Office located in the southeast corner of the Omaha Community Playhouse at 6915 Cass St. 

Article by Madison Denkinger

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